12 African women to be released in two weeks
KARACHI, July 12 2006: At least 12 women prisoners of African origin, who have completed their terms in drug related cases, will be released from Karachi Jail within 15 days. The overstay of women prisoners has been attributed to their failure to arrange air ticket for themselves. However, the tickets have finally been arranged by an NGO with the assistance of some philanthropists for at least 14 women prisoners, two of whom have already left Pakistan.
Diop Fatoumata, an African woman prisoner, who had completed her sentence over a year back was sent to the native country, Senegal, en route UAE, late on July 11 night. Another woman from Tanzania, Saum Thabit, was sent to her home country on July 9. Ms Fatoumata was caught while trying to smuggle drugs and was charged under Section 6/9 B and the court sentenced her on March 30, 2004. She had completed her sentence on May 15, 2005, but as she did not have money to buy a return ticket, she was kept in the prison for over a year, till a ticket was arranged.
Saum Thabit had been charged under section 9 (b) CNS, and the court had sentenced her on Dec 14, 2004. Her sentence expired on May 17. Jail authorities told Dawn that a team of special branch police came to the Special Prison for Women and took Diop Fatoumata, from prison on July 11 evening to the airport, and she would take a PIA flight to Dubai and after a brief stopover would take a connecting flight to Lagos. The rest of 12 prisoners who have completed their sentences, but are still in the prison are: Tina Ogeh, Faith Nneka, Ajoke Salamotu, Khadijat Denrele, Marie Camara and Oluwakemi Abiodum of Nigeria, Rougiutou Bah and Keita Salimatu of Guinea, Digue Amadoura of Mali, Musoke Sera of Uganda.
Tina Ogeh and Routiutou Bah are scheduled to fly back to Lagos, Nigeria on July 13; Keita Salimatu, Faith Nneka and Digue Amadoura on July 17; Ajoke Salamotu, Oluwakemi Abiodum, Khadijat Denrele and Marie Camara and Musoke Sera on July 18; Barry Djeneba and Coumba Diallo Tall on July 22. Tina Ogeh completed her sentence on March 4 and was tried under section 9/B. The court had sentenced her on Jan 27, 2004.
Rougiutou Bah completed her sentence on March 31 and was tried under section 6/9-B. The court had sentenced her on Aug 1, 2005. Keita Salimatu was caught under section 9 (B) CNS and the court sentenced her on Oct 21, 2003. She has completed her sentence on July 13, 2005, but had no money to buy her return ticket. Faith Nneka was caught under section 9 (B) CNS, and the court sentenced her on Aug 12, 2003. She has completed her sentence on Feb 3.
Digue Amadoura was tried under section 9 (b) CNS. The court sentenced her on Dec 14, 2004. She has completed her sentence on Jan 23. Ajoke Salamotu was tried under section 6/9-b. The court sentenced her on Feb 16, 2005, and she has completed her sentence on May 12. Oluwakemi Abiodum was tried under section 9(b) CNS. The court had sentenced her on Feb 7, 2005. She has completed her sentence on May 16. Musoke Sera was tried under section 9(b) CNS. The court found her guilty and sentenced her on Feb 16, 2005. She has completed her sentence on May 12.
Khadijat Denrele was has completed her prison term on June 1, but is still in prison. Marie Camara was caught and tried under section 9(b) CNS. She has completed her sentence on June 20, 2006 but is still in prison. Barry Djeneba was tried under section 6/9-b. She completed her sentence on May 3. Coumba Diallo Tall was caught under section 9(b) CNS. She completed her prison term on May 16.
Responding to the Dawn queries, Women prison chief Sheeba Shah said that when foreign prisoners complete their sentences and if they don’t have the return ticket, they were not released. Their status is changed and they are detained in the prison, and the prison authorities make efforts to arrange the tickets and when tickets are arranged, they are returned to their home countries. Responding to the Dawn queries Sadia Sohail of the Legal Aid Office, the NGO which has arranged the tickets for these 14 prisoners in the current month, said the NGO had arranged 61 tickets, including these 14, in the past 15 months.
Giving a break-up, she said 34 tickets had been arranged for Lagos (Nigeria); five for Dar-ul-Salam (Tanzania); four each for Nairobi (Kenya) and Conakry (Guinea Bissau); three for Bangkok (Thailand), two for Entebbe (Uganda) and one each for Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), Jakarta (Indonesia), Johannesburg (South Africa), Minorvia (Liberia) and Casablanca (Morocco).